As part of my work, I am often hired to assess aspiring authors’ manuscripts and one of the recurring themes that crops up in the reports that I write is how to build tension.

Tension is crucial in crime fiction but how do you create it? I always think the writer should:

* Put the reader in the situation. What does it feel like to be there?

* Use the things at their disposal - the senses, is a place cold, is it creepy, is it dark, does it smell rank, is your character affected by this: is a brave character suddenly scared, is a cool character panicky?

* Create a sense of immediacy. Make the reader feel the events. Focus on people and their feelings in order to make the reader feel as if he or she is there

* Create word pictures. Use imagery to write visually. Write the story as you see it

* But keep it simple - do not overdo it, not too flowery, nothing that will slow things down. Good writing relies on a judicious selection of detail.

* Use dialogue to set the pace. Good dialogue carries dramatic impact, advances the story and develop character

* Tension builds so write in spikes - tension, relax, tension relax. Incident, quieter passage, incident. As your story comes to an end, forego the quieter passage and build the tension to a crescendo.

Views: 18

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of John Dean Crime Novelist to add comments!

Join John Dean Crime Novelist

Latest Activity

John Dean shared their discussion on Facebook
Thursday
John Dean shared their blog post on Facebook
Thursday
John Dean posted a blog post

The Devil’s in the detail

I was writing the other day and part of the novel deals with a character dying from a serious bronchial illness, fighting for every breath.My detectives go to see him only to discover that, since they last met him, he has died. I found myself writing (slightly changed as the original contained crucial plot information) “Five minutes later, the officers were seated in the living room, acutely aware that his chair was empty and that the oxygen cannister had gone. They could see the ring on the…See More
Thursday
John Dean shared their discussion on Facebook
Wednesday
Erwin Krueger is now a member of John Dean Crime Novelist
Wednesday
Shalonda Wright is now a member of John Dean Crime Novelist
Jan 11
John Dean shared their blog post on Facebook
Jan 10
John Dean shared their blog post on Facebook
Jan 10
John Dean shared their blog post on Facebook
Jan 10
John Dean shared their blog post on Facebook
Jan 10
John Dean posted blog posts
Jan 10
John Dean posted a blog post

Number one!

I am delighted to say that the DCI Jack Harris novel Dead Hill (Book Folks) reached  No 1 in the Amazon Kindle organised crime chart!…See More
Jan 8
Arthur Heller updated their profile
Jan 7
John Dean posted a blog post

Blizzard is back!

The latest  DCI John Blizzard novel, Death List, is out and available from…See More
Jan 5
Jerome Hale updated their profile
Jan 4

Videos

© 2019   Created by John Dean.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service